Published online Nov 7, 2010. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v16.i41.5173
Revised: April 19, 2010
Accepted: April 26, 2010
Published online: November 7, 2010
Transient elastography (TE) is a new non-invasive tool for assessing liver stiffness, which is correlated with the histologic stage of liver fibrosis. Many studies have reported a good accuracy of TE in predicting significant fibrosis and an optimal accuracy in predicting cirrhosis. Furthermore, the potential role of TE in screening the general population has also been proven. TE thus helps physicians to decide treatment strategies, predict prognosis, and monitor disease progression in patients with chronic liver disease and to screen the general population to identify high risk patients with potential liver disease. However, most data on the clinical roles of TE have been gathered in European patients with chronic hepatitis C (CHC), because TE was first developed in France. Accordingly, much data on the usefulness of TE in patients with CHC has accumulated. Recently, however, vigorous efforts have been made to apply TE to patients with chronic hepatitis B (CHB), and TE has also proved to have acceptable accuracy in diagnosing liver fibrosis and cirrhosis in these patients. Thus, we focused on TE in the Asian population with CHB in comparison with the European population with CHC and found that the diagnostic performance and cutoff values were different between the 2 populations possibly as a result of several different confounders between Asian and European populations (the etiology of chronic liver disease, histologic features, major fluctuation in alanine aminotransferase levels, and the prevalence of high body mass index and metabolic syndrome). Therefore, further studies tailored to the Asian population with CHB should be performed before the widespread application of TE in Asian populations with CHB.